Monthly Archives: January 2017


The percentage of my workouts I completed this week! This is a big deal for me. Because confession time:  last year, I got way too lazy with my marathon training. I had a really cocky, really passive attitude.

I know I can finish a marathon. I’ve done it countless times now. I can just run/walk it. I’ll just run with someone who has a slower pace than me.

Sure God. I’ll give you my body. I’ll run for you. But I’ll do it completely half-assed.

A blemished offering.

So I slacked off. Big time. And I felt like complete garbage.

I thought about quitting. I thought about quitting a lot, in fact. I’ve been running back-to-back marathons now for almost 3 years. Isn’t that enough? I deserve a break! My body must need a break, because it clearly doesn’t want to do this anymore. I’m tired. I’m bored. I’m not motivated. I should quit.

So that’s why signed up for the Ironman. WHAT?!

You see, I needed something to challenge me. I needed something that actually caused me to doubt myself and my ability. Something that required FAITH and dependence on God. Something that would force me to give 100%. Because that’s what my Jesus deserves.

All of a sudden, I’m alive again.

Now, I know I’m only 2 weeks into base-base training. This is the easy part.


This is what the first 3 weeks of base-base training looks like.

This is especially easy for me who likes to start things. I’m an Activator (according to Strengthfinders). A really, really good one, at that. Got a great idea? Let’s make it happen. Need something jump-started? I’m your girl. I’ll dive into just about anything, with or without a plan. Let me loose. Let’s go!

It’s follow-through and finishing that I’ve struggled with my whole life. I get bored and distracted, or under-challenged, and I quit.

But I can’t quit this. 

Not when I’ve got this much skin in the game. Not when it’s personal. Not when I have relationships with people in Africa that have even more skin in the game than I do. Not when I know the suffering. Not when 1,000 children die everyday. Not when over 6 million people STILL don’t have clean water.

Not when I’ve seen the incredible, sustainable change that World Vision is making in the developing world (Oh my gosh you guys – I need to bring you up to speed, but what I saw when I was in Africa last was MIND-BLOWING. More on that to come).

And not when I have this great cloud of witnesses who have faithfully supported me over the last 7 years.

And not when the transformative work of God has never been so evident and potent in my life. This one thing – running for Team World Vision – has taught me more about God and his love, and has brought me deeper into his fold, than anything I’ve ever done or been a part of.

So I’m back to giving 100%. And I like it. It’s what’s required of me.

And it’s what’s required of you too. 

“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Jesus in Luke 12:48

To support my efforts financially, please give to clean water here:

To join my team at the Twin Cities marathon, sign up here:


The Swim Story

The Ironman Triathlon begins with a 2.4 mile swim.

Growing up less than a half mile from the eastern shore of White Bear Lake, I spent a lot of time in the water as a child. First at tiny Willernie beach, nestled at the corner of Ash & Wildwood Beach Road, and later, as I grew old enough to walk or bike, at Mahtomedi Beach, which was a little over a mile away. That’s where I took swimming lessons during the summer, and where I successfully  graduated every level, all the way up to Junior Lifeguard. I would’ve considered myself a good swimmer, but that’s because I was an arrogant child. Let’s be real.  All I ever really did at the lake was play. Swimming for any length of time or distance never really happened.

Until about 9 years ago. I was on a staff retreat with Eagle Brook’s worship team at Camp Kingswood in Minnetrista. Upon our arrival at this quaint camp on Little Long Lake, a few of us quickly tossed on our swimsuits and headed down to the water. It wasn’t long before I came up with an awesome idea… “Let’s swim across the lake!” It didn’t look that far across (in fact I measured it recently – only .16 mile). It would be easy, after all, I’m a good swimmer... and fun! Only one of my coworkers was brave enough to take me up on it (or maybe he just didn’t want me to die). We swam for about two minutes before I was totally wiped out. I basically back floated the rest of the way, then sat on the beach on the other side for about 10 minutes catching my breathe, and trying to figure out how I was gonna make it back. Apparently swimming distance is a lot harder than it looks.


Little Long Lake, Minnestrista, MN. The lake I (tried to) swim across in 2008. Photo cred. Suzie Katusky.

The next time I decided to give swimming a try was about 4 years ago. I had been sidelined from running due to a hip injury, so instead of bearing the shame of a water aerobics class, I decided to swim some laps. I could barely make it the 25 yards to the other end. I had to stop to catch my breath and bring my heart rate back down. That didn’t go so well. I think I did 2 whole laps that day, and promptly quit for good. Swimming sucks!  I started water aerobics a few days later.

That’s it. That sums up my life in swimming.

So why on earth would I even consider trying to take on what’s known as the World’s Toughest Triathlon, which includes a 2.4 mile open water swim in Lake Monona that needs to be completed in less than 2 hours and 20 minutes?

Well, we all know the reason why. More on that later.

So I jumped back into the pool on Sept. 16, 2016. That day I swam 700 yards in 30 minutes, mostly in 25 yard intervals. It was rough. Really rough.


Photo cred: Daniel Lukas

But I’m sticking with it, and much like I did when I started running distance 7 years ago, I have begun to see small, incremental progress. I took some lessons and have been reading through a book called “Total Immersion: A Revolutionary Way to Swim Better, Faster and Easier“. I have swam a (very slow) mile – 1650 yards, which told me that if I could maintain that (very slow) pace, I could complete the Ironman swim in 1 hour and 50 minutes – that gives me 30 minutes to spare. Ha! And last week, I was able to complete 1200 yards in 30 minutes, doing 100 yard intervals. PROGRESS!

I have a lot of work to do. Though my confidence is growing, I’m still pretty terrified. Open water. Thousands of people swimming at the same time, splashing, kicking, & hitting me. And probably worse than all of that is the 93 swim workouts I need to do in training before race day. Do I have what it takes? Do I have the discipline, the time, and ability to endure?

The truth is I don’t know. Maybe that’s the scariest part.

But for 7 years, I’ve placed myself in these situations where I don’t know what the outcome will be, and every time, God has faithfully been by my side and carried me through. He’s provided every thing I need and so much more. I live for that joy.

But for the joy set before him, He endured…

So here we go. Following Jesus all the way.



Gabi hopped in my lane with me tonight. She’ll be swimming better than me in no time, I’m sure. In the meantime, she provides me with a decent simulation of race day, and what it’s like to have arms and legs flailing next to me as I swim.

Don’t we look precious?